Monday, June 30, 2008

dude i got so many bug bites

Martin Creed is going to have this piece in the Tate that will be a runner running across a gallery every 30 seconds. I don't know anything about art and the way things are going may never see London but I am glad this is happening in the world, because who hasn't seen a huge expanse of museum corridor and wanted a little bit to slip across it faster than one ought, and because who hasn't seen Band of Outsiders, and because I just read this dull book that started with a snarky but engaging opening scene that has two aspiring teen bohemians sitting in an art museum with a pair of binoculars to observe the bourgeoisie so these lil rapscallions can read their expressions in an attempt to ascertain what the middle-aged and sensibly dressed reap from Art. Everyone sometimes turns around at the movies for a sec to look at the expressions of people looking up at the screen; at the Olafur Eliasson exhibit part at the MoMA, all everyone did was take pictures of themselves and their friends as the whites of Stephanie's eyes turned pink. The point is, the way people move through these spaces (bodies dashing through Chelsea! eyes slowly-slowly finding a way across a big Poussin painting!) is at least ridiculous in a small way, and I think this idea is ignorant, good-type.

Oh real quick fore I go to early pre-long-work-day sleep, here are the movies I've seen lately:

Celine et Julie vont en Bateau: LIBRARY BREAK-IN SCENE ALLUDING TO LOUIS FEUILLADE. DELIGHTFUL WHIMSY AT EXCESSIVE LENGTH. A++

The Little Fugitive: DELIGHTFUL VERITE DEPICTING 5-YEAR-OLD GETTING LOST IN LATE '50s/EARLY '60s CONEY ISLAND. PONIES. A++

Taking Off: LARGELY UNFUNNY SATIRE OF EASY TARGETS--PETIT-BOUGE LONG ISLANDERS AND WISPY DUMB HIPPIES--REDEEMED BY THE FACT THAT DIRECTOR MILOS FORMAN HAD JUST DECAMPED FROM EASTERN EUROPE AND CLEARLY LOOKED AROUND HIM AND THOUGHT, SERIOUSLY WHAT THE FUCK.

Onimasa: GENUINELY TERRIBLE JAPANESE EPIC RE EARLY 20TH CENTURY "GAMBLER" AND HIS BORING ADOPTED DAUGHTER, REMINISCENT OF A TELENOVELA IN STRUCTURE AND STYLE.

High and Low: GENIUS PACING ALLOWS THIS KUROSAWA JOINT TO SUCCEED BOTH AS SOCIAL COMMENTARY AND POLICE PROCEDURAL.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mister Lonely, or, Ask Me About Unwound

Ok, I saw Mister Lonely last night and am still reeling a little bit from the experience. I
wait one second: I am listening to New Plastic Ideas for the second time this week, that being the first time in a year and a half or so; this HOLDS UP like nobody's business, and none of the bands of now that go for the pounding dark vibe have anything on this band, who maybe were the only or last people to get the loud/soft dynamic shifts powerful without corniness. By Leaves Turn Inside You, which I'm not sure if I like any more, they, too, had gotten a little too "experimental." This record might actually be punk? It has a great guitar sound. So usual.
ANYWAY I gotta go on a long bike ride, but I also want to know, what did you think of this movie if you saw it? I went into it not really expecting to like it and left not knowing what I thought. Some parts
this song I am listening to is kind of post-Nirvana, hmm
The weird thing, I think, is that you think it'll be whimsical (the bad kind of whimsical, wait, there's no good kind, but you know what I mean?) and it isn't. I mean you think it'll be hipster-dreamy but it's just dreamy; Herzog's presence aside, parts of it seem very Herzog-y, with a small, bizarre, and beautiful thing happening in a big expanse of space. In other parts that you'd expect to be lush and over-the-top, Korine shoots in really tight focus on people's faces, which grounds you in the characters' emotions, and ultimately each main character's personality overrides the weird mise en scene, rather than sinking back into decorative weirdness. Does that make sense?
It has false notes, for sure, and despite the movie's surface earnestness (it's about faith), you wonder where the irony lies, if anywhere.
Oh shit, I am gonna be late! More later. Bike time!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

HAIRCUT TIme



Don't they know, at the haircut place, that I haven't had my hair cut since November or possibly August? Can't they see that I look like a feral metal dude? How could they have mistaken my "Wednesday" for a "Friday?" I protest this dreadful mistake by holing up in my room with books/computer/guitar to spite the nice weather.
onetwothree this is what I've been thinking about

The vague resemblance Serena VanderW. bears to Laura Palmer--the haunted blonde, misunderstood, caught in webs of intrigue which, it seems, she cannot control, except when you realize that perhaps she has, indeed, a deep and terrible grasp of her surroundings.

Why it is that so much art devotes itself to itself: we watch movies about making movies about artists making their art, we read books about writing writers, but we don't make movies or art or write; we come home from work, cook pasta and consume and think we derive something about talent or torment or the relevancy of the beautiful to a prosaic way of being.

Which is obvs not to say that one should read books like this one about strategic personae one can adapt to push forward positive change and get ahead within one's organization, just that it's sometimes hard to bring things to bear on each other. The Poussin show at the Met was really great.

Also, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were about my age when they got married, which, the more I think about it, makes no sense at all, both these two facts and the fact that I'm thinking about it. Also, I saw the Daniel Johnston documentary, which proves that the best documentaries tend to depict moments or people who document themselves (cf Capturing the Friedmans).



As a Lord of the Rings-influenced big-budget martial arts movie featuring a training montage wherein a pudgy film nerd buffs up and sprouts a ponytail,The Forbidden Kingdom may prove the least cool movie in the history of cinema and probably, the more references one catches to other kung-fu movies or to LOTR, the wider the chasm separating one from "acceptable" grows. I could still maybe pole vault?

listen to the New Bloods. That's it, i think.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

walking down the streets of paradise



Come out to the release party for perhaps this city's only dance-related zine (coordinated by Ana), tomorrow night at Sound Fix!

Also, read Hannah's photo blog about her Argentinian adventures.

Finally, you should probably listen to Pour Down Like Silver.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Memories of Murder


One expects the unexpected in a police procedural so automatically that the twists become formulaic: the first suspect won't pan out, the corruption at the heart of the law and the cop-criminal slippage usually starts to unfold about 2/3 of the way in. Memories Of Murder sticks to the formula partially, which makes it an incredibly weird movie. As in Law and Order, you see only hints of the policemen's private lives; the film focuses on the case, a serial rapist and murderer terrorizing a village in 1980s Korea. This movie--it is so strange.
First, the film plays much of the investigation for laughs. The cops bumble around, employing idiotic strategies (at one point, the lack of pubic hair at a crime scene convinces one that the criminal must be a hairless monk, prompting him to camp out in bathhouses, investigating his fellow bathers), seem generally ignorant, act cruelly and beat suspects out of sheer stupidity rather than vindictiveness. The comedy runs through the whole movie, but the wackier the cops seem, the more the film emphasizes their helplessness. In an early scene, they can't prevent a tractor driver from running over a footprint; later on, they sit in their office knowing that a murder will take place but unable to do anything to prevent it.
The movie's stock characters--the sharp city detective, the old chief of police, the murderer--act atypically. The man from Seoul has sharper investigative skills than the small-town police (who also don't shape up to impress him, as they might in a different movie), but proves equally unequipped for this case. Rather than affecting those around him, the irrationality of his fellow cops and the crimes' cruelty take an abrupt, heavy toll.
The DVD case describes Memories of Murder as a "moody thriller," which I first found unapt but think might be accurate--better, it's rueful, all about missed opportunities and disappointments, but this tone is unexpected in a movie about what this movie's about. It also puts a weird cast on the actual scenes of brutality, of which there are a few, that are horrifying and, more frightening still, inevitable.
I find this movie hard to describe. It came recommended really ardently from a few disparate sources, and it definitely hits you a lot harder after you finish watching it than while it's actually unfolding in front of you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SNAX PICKX

Both proprietary brands!

1. Trader Joe's Jumbo Raisin Medley. I barely liked raisins, only had odd-hour cravings for them and appreciated their presence in oatmeal, oatmeal-raisin cookies, and bran muffins, till I got this. About five of these raisins basically comprises a snack, and if you ever heard the phrase "plump and juicy" applied to a raisin before and looked down at teensy dried nuggets in your palm as the corners of your mouth turned down involuntarily, you should wait in that line, man. THESE RAISINS ARE AMAIZINS! I won't use them in my oatmeal--it's be like using Macallan for a whiskey and coke or something.

2. Archer Farms Jamaican Spice and Black Pepper and Sea Salt-flavor Baked Potato Crisps. You buy these at Target and at Target only; luckily I work near the hellacious Atlantic Avenue Mall, which is redeemed from fire and brimstone by these chips' righteousness alone (although the $14.99 Xhiliration bra special at Target also wins them points. I can't go in there and not buy chips and a bra! What the fuck?) These broad, flat chips have a brittle texture and lack the slightly sweet taste that bring down Baked Lays in my estimation. They're light while not lite, but the seasoning really makes them. When Archer Farms says pepper they mean real coarse-ground black pepper, that lingers in the corner of your mouth. Jamaica BBQ has a savory jerk taste underlying the pepper, while the black pepper chips simply have MORE PEPPER. Geniuses! My office can take down a big bag of these lickety-split.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

ignorant: the book review corner

People tell me I write how I talk but I hope that's untrue: the language I speak comes haltingly, broken unevenly into measures by "like"s, "I mean/guess," and a lot more shits and fucks and goddamns than my audience should accept. I resolved to quit "like" more New Year's than I can remember, but it takes such a pervasive role in my vocabulary that when I speak formally, to superiors at work, say, I might utter "yes, like, this situation . . . " realize that I've just used "like" improperly, and turn the actual situation into a hypothetical: "Yeah, like a situation wherein x might happen is analogous to the situation we're in" rather than "Yeah, our situation is x." And more minds than mine have drawn broader conclusions about this generation from our linguistic limp--things are not, for us, they are like this or like that. But I digress.
Since I read anything I see that has to do with meth addiction (I also feel compelled to read cookbooks and top 10 of anything lists, that's not what this is about here), I read the excerpt from Nic Sheff's meth addiction memoir Tweak, which was linked off an article in the Times. Here's a quote:

"I guess I've pretty much spent the last four years chasing that first high. I wanted desperately to feel that wholeness again. It was like, I don't know, like everything else faded out. All my dreams, my hopes, ambitions, relationships -- they all fell away as I took more and more crystal up my nose. I dropped out of college twice, my parents kicked me out, and, basically, my life unraveled."

This is amazing! What a mess, man, what an onslaught of cliches and nervous modifiers and "like"s and unnecessary adverbs. This phrase represents the core of this book, the truth of the devastation of this kid's life, and it's inept. One should not be allowed to get away with writing like this, much less earn a publishing contract from Simon and Schuster. But then, talk to me when you see me about inarticulateness and likely I'll look at you from behind a chunk of hair, scratch my nose, push up my glasses and say "Basically, like . . .fucking, like, we don't know how to talk anymore." So in a way this terrible writer has perfectly captured heavy sentiments for the era of the idle rich meth addict--he has no art, he could've done better but instead he did drugs. Is this prose commendable for its honesty and aptness or loathsome for its ignorance?
I saw about an hour of Into the Wild, which worked in a similar way: to express the naive alienation of its protagonist, the film's director (Sean Penn, I think) employs the dullest MTV techniques--slo-mo, split screens, topical Eddie Vedder songs--in a movie with themes (the romantic innocent trapped by society trekking out into the hills) for which this stylistic crap could not be less appropriate. . . OR IS IT?

Anyway, I have seen some movies lately, including Annie Hall, The Panic In Needle Park, J'entends plus la guitare, 10 Rillington Place, and Nobody Knows. Unlike Into the Wild, these were mostly good, particularly J'entends.

Based on Philippe Garrel's affair with Nico, the film has one topic--how love works--and cuts out any dross that might not relate to this particular thing. You don't know what any characater save one does for a living, the interiors are sparse, the camera lingers on faces, faces and pays attention to conversations, not actions. It is about the Frenchest thing I have ever seen.